"End of an era"

Britain's oldest casino, Crockfords, shuts down after 195 years in business

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Britain's oldest casino, Crockfords, has permanently closed after 195 years in operation. The exclusive gambling establishment ceased its operations this week, marking what its owners have described as the "end of an era."

Founded in 1828, this historic casino had encountered challenges in attracting its traditional affluent clientele. In September, Genting Group, the casino's parent company, initiated a 30-day consultation with its staff to determine the fate of the establishment, The Sun reported at the time.

Ultimately, the decision was made to shutter the establishment situated in London's Mayfair, which had an estimated value of £80 million ($97 million). As a result of this closure, approximately 100 employees are facing redundancy or potential relocation to other properties within the Genting Group.

"As we have previously announced, there are a combination of factors which have put high-end London casinos at a competitive disadvantage to other global marketplaces and this has led to an unsustainable future for Crockfords in Mayfair," said Paul Willcock, president and chief operating officer of Genting Casinos UK, as per The Sun.

Willcock said the closure of this casino does not impact any of the group's other venues across the United Kingdom and that the company has made efforts to accommodate its affected employees within the wider organization.

"Whilst the Mayfair closure marks the end of an era, Crockfords will remain a Premium Lifestyle Brand with a strong global presence, operating successfully in our properties around the world,” Willcock added.

Established in the 19th century by William Crockford, a working-class fishmonger, the casino initially operated as a private member's club in St James Place, catering to the elite and affluent members of society. Over time, its popularity led to a relocation to the upscale Mayfair district, attracting high rollers from around the world.

The success of the casino propelled Crockford to become one of the wealthiest self-made individuals in England. The closure of the establishment follows a challenging period in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, reports suggest that the elimination of VAT-free shopping for tourists post-Brexit may have contributed to a decline in wealthy visitors to London.

In recent years, two high-end casinos in London, the Ritz Club and the Clermont, shut down owing to the lack of high rollers visiting the UK. John O’Reilly, the CEO of the UK’s biggest casino group, Grosvenor, in an earnings call recently said that Middle Eastern high rollers, who have traditionally supplied London’s casinos with a stream of VIP revenues, were now choosing to visit Paris or Milan instead.

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